Kendall tours Okinawa to gain insight on realignment

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Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Frank Kendall, left, is greeted by Col. James G. Flynn during Kendall’s visit to Marine Corps Air Station Futenma July 31. Kendall visited MCAS Futenma and received aerial tours of other Marine Corps installations on Okinawa to gain a better understanding of the issues associated with consolidation and realignment efforts. Flynn is the commanding officer of MCAS Futenma, Marine Corps Installations Pacific. (Photo by Sgt. Brian Marion)
Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Frank Kendall, left, is greeted by Col. James G. Flynn during Kendall’s visit to Marine Corps Air Station Futenma July 31. Kendall visited MCAS Futenma and received aerial tours of other Marine Corps installations on Okinawa to gain a better understanding of the issues associated with consolidation and realignment efforts. Flynn is the commanding officer of MCAS Futenma, Marine Corps Installations Pacific. (Photo by Sgt. Brian Marion)

Kendall tours Okinawa to gain insight on realignment

by: Sgt. Brian A. Marion | .
Okinawa Marine Staff | .
published: August 10, 2013

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION FUTENMA, OKINAWA, Japan -- Frank Kendall, the under secretary of defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, toured military installations on Okinawa July 31 to gain a better understanding of consolidation and realignment efforts of military forces on Okinawa.

Flynn is the commanding officer of Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, Marine Corps Installations Pacific.
“With the shift (of focus) back to the Pacific, I want to see what it would take to keep you up and running,” said Kendall.

Kendall and Lt. Gen. John E. Wissler, the commanding general of III Marine Expeditionary Force, and U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Salvatore A. Angelella, the commander of U.S. Forces Japan, first flew to Camp Schwab for an aerial orientation of the proposed Marine Corps Air Station Futenma replacement facility location.

In the future, MCAS Futenma operations will be located at a replacement facility on Camp Schwab, so Kendall traveled there to see its location, according to Flynn.

One reason for the planned relocation of MCAS Futenma is due to the increased urbanization of Ginowan City where the air station is currently located and the areas surrounding the air station in recent years, according to Flynn.

“As an agreement between the Japan and United States governments, MCAS Futenma (operations) will relocate to a replacement facility after it is completed,” said Flynn.

Afterward, they proceeded to Camp Kinser for an aerial orientation before landing on MCAS Futenma where they toured the flight line and discussed how the station would remain operational until the new facility comes to fruition.

With the constant humidity and salt environment of the Pacific, there is a battle to prevent the erosion of facilities and equipment, according to Flynn.

For instance, Kendall was briefed on how one crane, that is normally rated to lift five tons, is currently rated to lift only 2,000 pounds due to corrosion.

Other issues discussed during Kendall’s visit were flooding of some hangars during heavy rains and the need for Ospreys to have larger hangars.

“These hangars were built before the Osprey was even designed,” said Flynn. “They were built for smaller aircraft, and as such, if we need to conduct any maintenance on it, we have to take it to another hangar that’s large enough or conduct the maintenance on the tarmac.”

As his tour ended on Futenma, Kendall congratulated the Marines on their work before heading to Kadena Air Base.

“You all have done a great job here, and know that your efforts aren’t going unnoticed,” said Kendall.